Hey kids! Anybody need a high-mileage APL programmer turned taxi driver?

March 25 2016

The best advice I ever got was a sign on a cabinet at work.
If you open it up, close it.
If you make a mess, clean it.
If you move it, put it back.

There’s a much more complete version you can find by searching for “If you make a mess, clean it” and clicking on “Download Rules of the House Poster”.

My wife and I plan to move from paradise in wine country to somewhere near Albany New York to be closer to our respective families, particularly grandchildren. We’ve heard Lee Massachusetts is a great place to live but would like to know more good options. We’re looking for progressive political communities and a bit of culture. A few weeks ago on the Listserve, Ian Fox recommended the Web serial, Worm. Ever since I’ve been gobbling it up as a podcast and loving it. The story quality and creativity are excellent and a small amount of copyediting will make it publishable and I hope very successful. Stories about superheroes and supervillains sound like comic book fodder. This work rises far above pulp quality to explore the human condition in a novel setting.

Some of my favorite things are gratitude, puns, cats, photography, Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind), The Firesign Theatre (I think We’re All Bozos on This Bus), Steven Wright, Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love), Patrick O’Brian (Master and Commander), Mark Twain, Peter F. Hamilton (Commonwealth Saga), Steve Gibson (GRC .com, Security Now!) and Terry Gross (Fresh Air).

According to John Pollack, author of The Pun Also Rises, puns are an essential chunk of human cognitive and creative processes from time immemorial. They show up throughout history, even in Egyptian hieroglyphs!

The Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin series is literature on a grand scale of 20 completed novels. Set in the Napoleonic wars, Jack Aubrey is a British fighting captain with most of the flaws you’d expect of a longtime sailor. His ship’s surgeon is Steven Maturin, a man of many surprises. I found the first two or three novels okay but not excellent. After that the author takes flight never falling into repetitive formulas exploring virtually the breadth of human experience, friendship, cunning, natural history, music, social contract, early medicine, science, geography, sailing and certainly war. For more depth in understanding, see a reference work called A Sea of Words by Dean King that translates non-English phrases and elaborates on locations, history and the close relationship between the historical novels and actual world and naval history.

Taxi driving is amazing. It’s a bit like reading a book by flipping twenty pages per second--I get short glimpses of many lives. I hear amazing stories from people in unusual circumstances, pass the time of day with friendly strangers, and sometimes can pass along useful information. Some folks want a little time to think quietly or nap while others want to celebrate and pursue sweethearts.

Vitamin D can save you from colds, cancer and improve your life in other ways. It is possible to get too much but it’s difficult! See grc .com/health/Vitamin-D.htm for much more information.

I have a close relative who suffers from anxiety and depression. Medications may have improved the symptoms but are far from giving relief. What’s worse is watching this person be slowly ostracized due to former friends not being comfortable around a depressed person. It’s been painful for me and worse for my relative. As this person says, if they had cancer, everyone would rally around and be supportive. Please hug a depressed person today.

Carl Cheney
[email protected]
Santa Rosa, California, USA

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